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Title: The educational work of the Catholic Women's League in England 1906-1923
Author: Newman, Mary V.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2702 3384
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2010
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This is a study of the Catholic Women's League in England. Between 1906 and 1923 it grew from a narrow metropolitan base into a broadly based national society. The CWL was a semi-autonomous organization under hierarchical authority which provided a structure designed to unite Catholic lay women and empower them to serve the Catholic community and promote the Church's social teachings in the public sphere. The focus of this study is the CWL's informal education which provided both knowledge of the social sciences and an understanding of Catholic social policy. It drew on theories of leadership, traditions of Christian vocation and a belief in the role of women as agents of social reform, to formulate an educational programme designed to convert individual philanthropy into systematic social care. Evidence is provided to indicate how the CWL adapted this informal education to meet the needs of Catholic women both when they were engaged in war work and in their new role as voters after 1918. This study reveals how the CWL at a time of militant feminist activity endeavoured to develop an ideological space, "Christian Feminism", where Catholic women could be both Catholic and feminist. Thus Catholic women were able to defend traditional female roles in the family while advocating participation in the public sphere. Seven biographical profiles are included to illustrate the similarities and differences between the founders of the CWL including Margaret Fletcher a leading figure throughout this period. The personal motivations of these women who served on its committees and formulated its educational theory are identified. Finally, this study indicates how women provided an organization for women in which they could be empowered to act as agents of social reform among the Catholic community of England in the early twentieth century.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available